Well, IUI #1 is done and dusted! A mixture of the nerve-wracking and the farcical.
Got to the clinic at 2.20pm and was called in pretty much on the dot of 2.30pm and whisked down to the basement area, where the theatres are. A slightly strange underground bunker feel to the place. The changing and resting area is a large space divided into lots of rooms with curtains, so you can hear plenty of the action going on around you.
As my appointment time had been changed, I expected that Dr L probably wouldn’t do the procedure. In fact, it was B, my nurse co-ordinator from earlier, who walked into the changing room. She commented it was nice that she was doing it, as we had now come full circle after my first appointment.
I wasn’t expecting to have to wear a hat, gown and scrunchy shoes – I had even wondered whether it might be done upstairs where I’ve had my scans. Or that we’d be heading off to a proper theatre.
Once there, B went through the patient information post-IUI. No warm showers, only light exercise etc etc. Plus sexual intercourse is encouraged. B apologised for that last one – it didn’t bother me but I do think it would be a courtesy to all the single ladies to have a separate form minus that point, not rocket science, is it? I had to sign the form and off we went.
The first thing I didn’t expect was where the sperm would come from. B made a phone call and suddenly a hatch opens in the wall opposite me to the room behind. A middle-aged man, F, appears with the straw and they engage in some serious cross-checking to make sure I am the right patient matched to the right vial. The slightly surreal aspect of all of this was that while they were cross-checking I was lying there with my legs up and the business end pointing directly at the hatch, behind which F’s colleagues were working away as far as I could tell. More than a little undignified.
I half-jokingly but fully in earnest asked F if it was the right stuff and he said that’s what they were checking. The sperm ordering process was so chaotic and drawn-out and the embryologist appeared so busy that I actually wouldn’t be surprised if the wrong stuff had been ordered or put against my name. No one mentions the donor’s pseudonym from the sperm bank site or anything reassuring like that.
F did say though that the sample had a motility of 80% and something like 17 million sperm (not sure about the latter but I think that’s what he said). Either way, it was a pretty healthy specimen. Then he wished me the best of luck, closed the hatch and was gone. There was something a bit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory about this whole thing for some reason.
The sperm was pink I think, the second thing I wasn’t expecting. I guess this is because it’s washed but it does look very odd.
I declined the offer of music, which B said some women like because it relaxes them. Being wound up is not conducive to a relaxed and receptive uterus. She explained that the procedure was pretty much like the SIS exam I had had on the first day. I was pretty pleased at this, as I didn’t find that painful at all.
However, it seems this depends who is doing the procedure. B went in with whatever instrument they use and it HURT. She was working away in there and, apart from the strain of the bizarre angle my legs were at, it was just so uncomfortable inside. I was wishing for it to be over and then she pulled out and said she was meeting some resistance. She knew from my chart that my uterus was at a slight angle and that there was also a 2-3cm overhang (I think she said overhang) – some obstacle anyway.
So I sat there with my legs up in the stirrup things while she rang for a doctor to come and help. Again, far from dignified. I was really, really wishing for Doctor L at this stage.
It was a different doctor, another woman, who checked my chart and asked for a different instrument. Which had to come from the magical world behind the hatch for some reason. This time a woman appeared at the hatch, like F to be greeted by my business end directed straight at her. Surreal again.
All fine after this thankfully. Doctor S went in smooth as a daisy and they got the stuff inserted.
All through this I was lying there trying to remain calm under the fluorescent lights and trying to take some beauty from the situation, not just to relax me but in case this is the one that works and so I have some nice memory. The only pretty thing to focus on was the theatre light, which was phosphorescent and strangely beautiful amidst all the other equipment.
The other farcical element was B and Doctor S trying to get the bed sorted so they could roll me into the changing and waiting area. I swear it took them five minutes to work out how to do it. They actually had to turn on the light to see what they were doing. Meanwhile, I’m lying there trying to keep my legs up. Honestly.
Back in the waiting room for about 20-25 minutes with my legs elevated and that was pretty much it. The temporary nurse who explained the meds to me two weeks ago came in and explained what I’m to do next: Crinone progesterone gel through an applicator (it looks like a mini turkey baster) every evening for the next four evenings and after that twice a day. I book to make an appointment to have a pregnancy blood test on 9 November.
That was it – plus the 850 euro I stumped up at the end.
Would have been nicer if Doctor L had done it but it was okay in the end. Just the opposite of a dignified or pleasant conception (if that’s what it was – only time will tell).
The famous two week wait begins here.